The Mental Health Commission of NSW sought the views of consumers, carers, professionals and the community calling for submissions on Mental Illness and Medication. People were invited to  contribute to the consultation process by making submissions online through the MHCNSW website ,via email or by telephone. A report outlining the views expressed has been published and a video featuring consumer and carer views is available at the following links:

Report: http://nswmentalhealthcommission.com.au/sites/default/files/uploads/Medication%20and%20mental%20illness%20perspectives%20Nov%202015.pdf

Video: http://nswmentalhealthcommission.com.au/news/media-centre/media-releases/mental-health-consumer-and-carer-experience-of-medication-critical

The majority of consumers and carers submissions reported serious side effects of medications, particularly weight gain and sedation, about which they were not adequately informed when making decisions about choice of treatment. Many consumers and carers called for greater use of psychosocial interventions as first line treatment and the consensus was that “the first, and only option should not be a prescription.” (MHCNSW, 2015, p.18)

According to the Commission: “Consumers and carers are asking for: their views to be taken seriously the potential side effects of medication to be explained to them involvement in decisions about their treatment all possible treatment options to be explained to them the prescription pad not to be reached for too readily time to spend with members of the treatment team to have meaningful discussions about medications prescribing decisions to take account of personal lifestyle and recovery goals conversations about medication regimes to be regular and involve the possibility of safely reducing or ceasing.” (MHCNSW, 2015, p. 54)

Mental Health Commission of NSW (2015). Medication and Mental Illness: Perspectives. Sydney, Mental Health Commission of NSW

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